After dropping three of four in Milwaukee over the weekend, the Nationals hit the reset button and return home for a seven game homestand, welcoming NL West bottom-feeder Colorado to DC for a three game series that begins tonight. The Nats lead the NL East by 1.5 games over the Atlanta Braves, who split a four game series with the NY Mets over the weekend. The good news is that the Nats have played lights-out at home (best home record in baseball). The bad news is that the Nats' offense continues to sputter. The good news is that the Rockies have lost four in a row and share the dubious distinction of owning the lowest win total in the majors (31) with the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays; mere percentage points separate the Rockies from the worst record in baseball. The bad news, again, is that the Nats' offense continues to sputter. In theory, the series against Colorado should be a good opportunity for the Nats to beat up on a bad team.
However, the Nats just scuffled through four close games against the sub-.500 Brewers: another waste of a no-nonsense performance by John Patterson Thursday afternoon (6IP, 2ER, 7H, 9K); Friday's bizarre "Balk-Off" loss; Saturday's 5-3 win highlighted by achy-breaky Jose Guillen’s clutch hitting; and finally yesterday's 5-3 loss, which saw the Nats get schooled by old friend Tomo Ohka. Tony Armas Jr. (4-4 4.97 ERA) takes the hill for the Nats tonight against Byung-Hyung Kim (2-7 5.46 ERA).
Should Frank Robinson do something to shake things up? Is benching Cristian Guzman in favor of Jamey Carroll the best place to start? The arrival of Preston Wilson was supposed to inject some life into the offense, and he has been fairly productive in four games since joining the team last Thursday (4-15, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), but top-to-bottom, the lineup just isn't getting it done. Every day that passes without Nick Johnson in the lineup seems to amplify his importance to the club. There's still no return date in sight for Johnson, but according the Post, he’ll be reexamined today. So the best solution to the Nats' offensive woes might be to just wait it out. Besides the questions about when Nick Johnson will return and when the Nats will break out offensively, the biggest question now for the Nats is whether or not Jim Bowden is done wheeling and dealing after the flurry of activity last week.
>You couldn’t have written a more disastrous start to Mike Stanton’s Nationals career when he balked in the winning run on Friday night without throwing a pitch. But the Yankee castoff fared much, much better when he finally got around to throwing the ball: a five pitch, 1-2-3 8th inning on Saturday night.
A couple of other questions:
>In the wake of the Preston Wilson-for-Zach Day & J.J. Davis trade, could there have been a worse destination for Day to land than Colorado? Getting shipped out to Coors Field, a.k.a. "Where Borderline Major League Pitchers Go to Die", is the baseball equivalent of being exiled to Siberia.
>Am I the only one who thinks the Nats marketing slogan “Let Yourself Go!” sounds better suited for Exlax than baseball?